Ex-military man who handled Roswell debris dies months after revisiting famous UFO site
Dr Jesse Marcel handled the debris from a UFO near Roswell in 1947
Dr Jesse Marcel Junior, who said he handled debris from the 1947 crash of an unidentified flying object near Roswell, in the US state of New Mexico, has died at the age of 76.
Denice Marcel said her father was found dead at his home in Helena, in the state of Montana, on Saturday, less than two months after making his last trip to Roswell. He had been reading a book about UFOs.
For 35 years, Marcel appeared on TV and radio shows and in documentaries, was interviewed for magazine articles and books and travelled the world lecturing about his experiences at Roswell.
"He was credible. He wasn't lying. He never embellished - only told what he saw," his wife, Linda, said.
Marcel's father was an air force intelligence officer and reportedly the first military officer to investigate the wreckage in early July 1947. Marcel Junior said he was 10 when his father brought home some of the debris, woke him up in the middle of the night and said the boy needed to look at it because it was something he would never see again.
The item that Marcel Junior said fascinated him the most was a small beam with some sort of purple-hued hieroglyphics on it.
After an initial report that a flying saucer had been recovered on a ranch near Roswell, the military said the debris was from a weather balloon.
"They were told to keep it quiet and they did for years and years and years," Linda Marcel said. Interest in the case was revived, however, when physicist and UFO researcher Stanton Friedman spoke to Jesse Marcel Senior in the late 1970s.
Friedman wrote the forward to Marcel Junior's 2007 book The Roswell Legacy, and described him as a courageous man who "set a standard for honesty and decency and telling the truth".
"He had the courage to speak out when he didn't have to about handling wreckage that his dad brought home," Friedman said. "He could have kept his mouth shut. A lot of people did."